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Gearing up for work

Staff encouraged to cycle for bike month

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 01/02/2013
SKM
JASON OXENHAM / Fairfax NZ
ON YER BIKE: Staff at SKM Projects in Auckland are involved in a NZTA project aimed at making it easier for employees to cycle to work.

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When Matt Hancock cycles to work in the morning he arrives alert and ready to go.

The water engineering technician at projects firm Sinclair Knight Merz believes cycling to the Parnell office, rather than driving, leaves him better motivated for a day's work.

Hancock's employers are being used by the New Zealand Transport Agency as a model of how businesses can encourage cycling among their staff.

SKM has been behind the project for many years, offering a range of resources including showers, bike storage, safety tips, lunchtime cycling groups and even a company bike for commutes to meetings.

Hancock, the company's "NZ bike champion", said about 30 of the office's 250 staff were cyclists, with 15 being "hard core riders".

Part of his role is to speak with beginners about safe commuting and to provide an introduction to the cycling group.

"It's just about supporting those who choose to commute by bike," he said.

"Having the office facilities available makes things really easy. Supporting staff who decide to cycle makes them happier and more alert, as well as reducing the hassle and expense of car parking.

"People also feel good about using a sustainable transport option," he said.

It's these initiatives NZTA is eager to spread to other businesses.

NZTA's network user behaviour manager Jennie Gianotti said encouraging staff to cycle to work, take lunchtime cycle breaks or participate in company-wide cycling events can benefit the individual as well as the workplace.

"Studies have shown that employees who exercise regularly can be more productive, feel more alert and are less stressed in their jobs than those who don't," she said.

"The Bike Wise programme is about encouraging Kiwis to give cycling a go, and to see how fun and easy it can be, while realising all the benefits cycling can offer."

February is Bike Wise Month and with national Go By Bike Day on February 13 companies are encouraged to launch their own in-house cycle programme or events.

NZTA has new resources available including guides on running events, tips on cycle safety, health, financial and sustainability benefits of cycling, and suggestions on how to improve workplace cycling facilities and develop a cycle plan to engage staff.

Visit bikewise.co.nz.

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